Ten ways the modern gasoline engine is different

The principles behind the gasoline car engine haven’t changed much. A gasoline-powered engine works as fuel and air are ignited together, which powers the motor through a series of pistons and crankshafts. For a more detailed explanation, check out this video.

Despite the underlying principles of how a gasoline engine works remaining the same, there have been several improvements over the years that have changed engine technology. Here are ten ways modern engines have changed.

1. Engines are smaller. Everything that gets invented eventually gets smaller. Just like our smartphones, which combine multiple technologies in a tiny brick of electronics, the modern engine is smaller than it used to be as more efficient technologies have been designed, and cars have gotten lighter.
2. Engines are more efficient. The fuel economy we get now is much better than it used to be. Fuel efficiency has become a necessity for many car manufacturers as strict government emissions standards have been passed to meet environmental targets.
3. Engines are more powerful. Smaller lighter engines can produce more horsepower than older model engines. This advancement has resulted in higher temperatures in your engine and your better fuel burning.
4. Modern engines are more electronic. Increasingly your mechanic is more of a computer expert than an engine expert. Previously standard engine parts like a carburetor may be replaced with electronic fuel injection systems, as well as several other parts of your engine. Everything is monitored by electronic sensors, which must be calibrated to your vehicle computer and continually updated.
5. Increased safety features. Older cars were not nearly as safe as their modern counterparts. New safety standards have been invented as per government regulations for consumer safety.
6. Cylinder deactivation. This is a relatively new technology that is designed for fuel-efficiency. When the car is idling or stopped, individual cylinders are turned off to save power and fuel. Your vehicle will turn off parts of the motor when you are idling or stopped. Many new cars have this technology to improve fuel economy, especially in stop and go traffic.
7. Variable-valve timing.The valves in your engine used to open and close at the same time, which wasted fuel. This new technology optimizes how the valves open based on how much power is needed, which helps improve fuel economy.
8. Higher transmission speed. Modern transmissions can handle more than ever before. It’s widespread to see transmissions with six or more speeds, as opposed to the traditional four or five-speed of older transmissions.
9. Direct fuel injection. Direct engine technology improves fuel economy by heating the fuel and air combination before it hits the combustion chamber. This change helps the fuel burn hotter and more efficiently.
10. Turbocharger. Adding a turbocharger fan to the car’s exhaust system pushes the air through the car’s exhaust system faster. On smaller vehicles, this technology helps generate more power and save fuel. In many models, this technology is known as an EcoBoost.

There are even more ways that modern engines differ from older models. These technologies have all been developed to improve fuel economy, increase power, decrease vehicle weight, and meet emissions standards. What hasn’t changed is your vehicle’s need for oil as a lubricant. Motor oil still plays an essential role in maintaining your engine and improving performance. You need to choose the right oil for your vehicle. Older motor oil blends are not meant for the new engine technologies in your car. More modern motor oils are being manufactured specifically for cars newer than in 2012. These oils are less viscous, have more additives, and are more thoroughly tested for these engines.

In a previous blog, Watch Out For Carbon Buildup, we shared how a major issue occurring in many newer vehicles is carbon buildup. Carbon deposits form throughout more modern engines because of direct injection technology. One way to stop this from happening is to choose a proper oil for your engine.

Our top recommendation for modern engines is the Valvoline Modern Engine Full Synthetic oil. It is the first oil that has been designed to prevent carbon build-ups, handle the higher temperatures of modern engines, and provide the best protection to your engine. Unlike other API certified oils, it will offer more protection against carbon build-up. If you have questions about this oil, check out this great video from Valvoline.

Your newer vehicle is designed for the future. The engine advancements that have changed the way we drive and use fuel are more significant than you think. That means that we have to change the way we think of maintaining and caring for our engines. You can’t keep up your new engine with the same old lubricants. Your oil needs to change with your engine. Let our team show you why modern engine oil like Valvoline Modern Engine can make all the difference.

A tale of oil analysis

For many years we’ve worked with a variety of customers, including members of the local agricultural community. We’ve been proud to assist our farmers by providing the fuels, lubricants, and supplies they need for their equipment. We’ve also been able to offer another valuable service, oil analysis.

Imagine two neighboring farmers, Bill and Dan, work across the road from one another. They each have large commercial farms with a variety of equipment and similar fuel and lubricant needs. Bill and Dan are so alike they each bought the same model of pickup truck for work. The only real difference between these two men: they have different fuel suppliers. Bill gets his fuel from Greg’s Petro, while Dan uses another regional supplier. Bill is slightly more cautious than Dan, so he also signs up for our oil analysis program. Through this program, oil and fluids from Bill’s equipment are tested for:

 Viscosity: We want to make sure that the thickness of the lubricant matches what the manufacturer says it should be. If the viscosity is off from the manufacturer’s specification, the lubricant will not perform as it should, which could damage the equipment.
 Acid Number/Base Number: Just like in a high school chemistry class, an acid/base test checks for the concentration of acid and the alkalinity in the oil. Oils that have too much acid may cause oil oxidation, while oils that are too basic could create engine blow-by conditions.
 FTIR: This is an instrument that tests for any contamination factors such as water, glycol, soot, or any evidence that the oil is beginning to break down.
 Particle Counting: If there are any particles in the oil, this test measures the size and quantity.
 Moisture Analysis: This test measures for any water that may be present in the oil. It can be in three forms: dissolved, emulsified, or free. A high moisture reading may indicate that water is leaking into the product in some way, or that there is a sealant problem.

Each time Bill’s equipment gets tested, our oil analysis team goes through the report with him to ensure that he understands it. Using the data from his tests, they identify lubricant related needs his equipment may have so that it can last longer. To make these recommendations, our team needs to understand a few things about the machinery:

 Environmental conditions: How Bill uses his equipment makes a difference in how long it will last. Since he works outdoors in dry conditions, it will affect the lubricants that he needs to use. If he uses his equipment in wet or cold conditions, our team will change their recommendations. Even equipment used indoors may experience breakdowns because of the area. Some lubricants have been designed for different environmental conditions or may have additives that can improve performance. Our team only recommends products that are precisely suited for Bill’s work and where he does it.
 Type of equipment: Not every car, machine, or piece of equipment is the same. Every manufacturer has their specific designs for their products and will make particular lubricant recommendations. Our team takes into account the makes and models of all Bill’s machinery.
 Maintenance history: Bill’s maintenance history is vital to engine performance. Bill passes on what his mechanic recommends and what issues are continually monitored on his machinery to our team.
 Filter history: Superior filters make all the difference. Insufficient filters will allow containments and particles into the engine, which will cause mechanical issues. Some of our most popular products are Valvoline filters because they provide guaranteed quality for our customers.
 Equipment operating time: Bill is very conscientious and keeps detailed records of how much he uses his equipment. These runtime records help our team provide accurate recommendations to prevent damage over time.
 Any unusual activity with the machinery: When something starts to make a weird sound, Bill notices. Strange noises, jerking, engine issues, smoke, or any other problems could all be a sign of mechanical problems. Bill makes a note to pass on any such occurrences to our team.

We work with accredited laboratories to test Bill’s samples and create a detailed report of the conditions of his oil and equipment. Based on the oil analysis and other information, our team helps him find the right products to prevent costly maintenance. We maintain records of all his oil analysis reports to help guide his orders. We offer a selection of products from Chevron and Valvoline, two of the leading industry providers.

Over the years, our oil analysis helps identify specific lubrication needs Bill’s equipment has. We can help prevent costly maintenance and save him so money because his machinery lasts longer and runs better. His neighbor Dan isn’t so lucky. He uses the same oils and lubricants year after year, and it’s caused him plenty of time and money for expensive repairs. The pickup truck he bought that was the same as Bill’s breaks down in five years, while Bill’s keep running like normal. Our oil analysis program really could have helped Dan.

Bill and Dan may be fictional, but their story isn’t. Oil analysis saves your business money and time spent on costly repairs. You’ve invested a lot into the machinery your business requires, protect that investment with the right lubricants and oils. Ask us today about how oil analysis can help your business.